I constantly rave about this opportunity because it not only financed my studies but it provided me with the greatest year of my life, giving me lifelong friends from around the globe and the opportunity to study abroad and travel all over the UK and Europe.
In 2017, I was awarded a Chevening Scholarship from the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Which meant I received over £25,000 pounds to pursue a Master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
WHAT IS CHEVENING? Pronounced (SHE-vening)
This scholarship is the UK government’s competitive international awards program aimed at developing global leaders. A Chevening Scholarship offers future leaders the unique opportunity to study in the UK paid for by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
The scholarship enables emerging leaders from all over the world to pursue a one-year Master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
Giving you the opportunity to live and study in the UK for a year for FREE.
WHO CAN APPLY?
You must be a citizen of one of the 160 eligible countries (US/EU citizens are not eligible).
There is no age requirement
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS BEFORE APPLYING?
A desire to create positive change in your home country - might sound cheesy but it's true and your conviction or lack thereof will be evident.
A completed undergraduate degree.
Have at least two years (equivalent to 2,800 hours) of work experience (does not have to be consecutive).
Important to note: You are expected to return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after your award has ended.
WHAT DOES THE SCHOLARSHIP COVER?
EVERYTHING! Flights, accommodation, and course fees are all included.
university tuition fees
a monthly stipend
travel costs to and from the UK
an arrival allowance
a homeward departure allowance
the cost of one visa application (almost 1000 pounds!)
WHO SHOULD APPLY
Leaders! Unlike other scholarships that predominantly focus on top marks, Chevening is looking for more than that. They are looking for future leaders, change-makers, movers and shakers.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The entire application process takes almost a year. Beginning from August when you start working on your application before the deadline in November and if you are successful ending around June the following year.
Remember that this application process is completely separate from your University applications.
My Chevening year only 1,700 scholars were accepted from 65,000 applications worldwide. Those numbers can sound intimidating but believe that you can be one of those 1,700! Don’t be discouraged by how competitive it may seem. When I arrived in London I met many scholars who had applied more than once before securing the scholarship. So if you don’t make it this time, try again!
WHY YOU SHOULD APPLY
You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t apply for.
Becoming a Chevening scholar feels like becoming part of the largest most diverse group of global friends.
Critical thinking skills. Across the board, I found that most Chevening scholars no matter from what part of the world agreed that the UK higher education system pushes you to develop sharp critical thinking skills. It’s not just about thinking outside the box, professors will have you questioning what the box even is.
PUB CHATS – my most valuable conversations were often held outside the classroom. The social science nerd in me loved long debates over a cold pint. Your educational experience will extend well beyond the walls of your campus.
Opportunity to study abroad. If you've never lived abroad this is a great way to try it. Having the Chevening network while being far away from home for the first time you will have people around you going through the same struggles, providing an invaluable support system.
Travel! The scholarship encourages you to travel across the UK and to see all the beauty the country has to offer. Having a network of 1,000+ students across the country is definitely a bonus for free tour guides or a couch for the night.
Take your time to read over all the requirements of the application.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE
This should not be something you throw together over a weekend. I spent about five weeks working on my application. Give yourself plenty of time and have others review your essays.
READ ESSAY PROMPTS CAREFULLY
Be clear, concise, and specific in your answers. Use clear examples that demonstrate x y z. Show the reader how you’ve used X skill to accomplish Y result. Just stating you have the required skills is not enough, the key is to demonstrate it.
Important tip: Show how studying specifically in the United Kingdom will help you achieve your career goals. An interviewee told me that many applicants make a strong case to persuade the reader why they have chosen their course of study but they often do not do the same to persuade why in the UK.
CONNECT YOUR ESSAYS
Remember you are telling one story about yourself. Make sure all your essays connect and tell one clear vision and plan for your career and goals. Clearly link your chosen course of study to your previous experiences and future vision. Clearly articulate your accomplishments and future goals and plans.
USE ‘I’ INSTEAD OF ‘WE’
Use ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ when discussing personal achievements.
I vividly remember sitting in my interview and I had used a few “we” references and the interviewer replied what did you do, emphasis on you. I fortunately quickly picked up on the hint and remembered I was there to sell them on my personal accomplishments even if it was within a team. Make sure your individual contribution is clear.
Selling yourself is a skill we are not all equipped with. Be sure to practice if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Trust me, when you make it to orientation in London you’ll meet hundreds of men who have no trouble talking themselves up (tongue in cheek).
SHOW YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Demonstrate real enthusiasm about making a lasting positive contribution to your home country and have clear ideas about how to achieve it. Thousands of people are applying, show them how much you want it. This really shows in the interview.
I have never met a Chevening scholar unwilling to talk to someone interested in the scholarship. Hundreds of Chevening alumni from around the world have shared their experiences and tips, use them, contact them!
If you made it this far, I am here to offer any Caribbean and/or Central Americans a call with me to answer any questions you may have. Just send me an email.
Listen to episode 16 of the Bacchanal Abroad podcast to hear more about my experience.
yes, that is the Queen herself and Prince Harry standing feet away from me at her royal birthday celebration #cheveningperks